Decision making in Agile Teams


Leading agile teams, in software development, is a challenging role of any software development manager.

As a scrum master or development manager, you have to:

  1. Motivate people.
  2. Let them work flawlessly.
  3. Have a product that could be shippable.
  4. Hear complaints.
  5. Do not micromanage.

Moreover, I could go on for, at least, other three pages.

The myth of the self-organizing team is as the name says a myth.

People must be nurtured and informed of the desired outcome, but suddenly a doubt sprung out about how to implement a feature or if the architecture is moving in the right direction.

As software development manager my goal is having a product that have the right maintenance cost.

So I have to solve the problem, of many coders, that “democratize” too much the direction to take, a wrong decision is better that no decision at all.

I have team made of three coders not of the same seniority, usually I have two senior, one medium.

Applying the principle of loose ownership, everyone owns something, but in fact, the decision is loosely shared.

At every coder, I will give a unique role and some shared roles, let have an example:

Senior 1: Release management – Architecture – Database.

Senior 2: Bug Fixing – Architecture – User Interface.

Medium: Database – Services.

The system work like that, when there is a doubt on something to do on the Database, the two that have Database role could talk, if they agree the problem is over; if they don’t agree the one without Database could choose one or the other solution.

In case of a unique role example: “Services”, it is a single person decision no questions asked!

The part of deciding who owns what is the hard one:

  1. Choosing wisely and not taking two people that are too bond together with the same shared role.
  2. You have also to choose people that are competent in their role.
  3. Pay attention at the same time to team balance and behaviour balance.

There is a perfect solution? No, there is not a perfect solution; you can work incrementally to find the solution that works for you.

There is only a safe thing in the life nothing last forever, the change is the challenge to win.

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